Photo: PR Times

Rilakkuma appointed as Saitama’s Police Traffic Safety Public Relations Ambassador

By Connie Sceaphierde, grape Japan

Japan has a bit of a reputation for okaying things that might seem a little strange to the outside eye. But what’s odd elsewhere may be the complete norm over here, and that’s why no one even batted an eyelid when adorable San-X fictional character, Rilakkuma was chosen as Saitama’s prefectural Police Traffic Safety Public Relations Ambassador.

The commissioning of Rilakkuma into the role is part of the "National Traffic Safety Campaign in the Fall of Reiwa 3”, which was implemented from September 21.

As part of the role, we can expect to see Rilakkuma promoting traffic safety through posters, videos and media posts on popular sns such as Twitter and instagram.


This wouldn’t be the first time a kawaii mascot or character has been placed in a position of importance, with Pokemon’s Slowpoke having previously been named as Kagawa Prefecture’s official prefectural governor on April fools back in 2018 – though more recently, the Pokémon character has taken on roles more closely related to his origins. Another great example is Pokemon’s Lapras, who has been named as Miyagi prefecture’s official tourism ambassador.

Though similar, these examples (including Rilakkuma’s new role as Saitama’s prefectural Police Traffic Safety Public Relations Ambassador) differ from Japan’s use of Yuru Kyara in that these characters are already in existence. You can probably easily name a few of Japan’s Yuru Kyara; some of the most famous include Kumamoto prefecture’s Kumamon, NHK’s Domo-kun and Hokkaido's Melon Kuma.

As Rilakkuma settles into their new role of Saitama’s prefectural Police Traffic Safety Public Relations Ambassador, and with so many other cute characters securing governmental positions, we can’t help but wonder if/or when Japan plans to one day elect a mascot as prime minister. After all, would it be so odd?

Read more stories from grape Japan.

-- Cute Japanese bread and cat-themed mugs will give you a warm and toasty feeling in your heart

-- Heart Bread Antique set to unleash Spooktober baked goods from October 1st

-- Welcome the Unexpected in Studio Ghibli’s New Movie, ‘Earwig and the Witch’

© grape Japan

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Japan LOVES its cute mascots

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan LOVES its cute mascots

So do we..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A cute mascot is the least that is needed for the traffic cops in Saitama, they are notorious for targeting out-of-prefecture cars and issuing traffic tickets with huge fines for very minor infractions. And if you are a woman driving alone and get pulled over, you will be ticketed or worse.

A cute mascot is just a band aid solution for traffic cop bullying.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The last thing the police need is more redundant, infantile mascots. Plus, they'll pay a regular license fee. Money wasted on entertainment. Instead, they could have invested the money in, for example, how a police officer should and should not use a service weapon. That he can't point it at a suspect when there are people, civilians, in the line of fire.

Infantile mascots don't belong in politics or government in general. They belong in schools, cultural events, festivals, etc. But just the photo with the mascot shows police officers as just people to laugh at, without respect.

As part of the role, we can expect to see Rilakkuma promoting traffic safety through posters, videos and media posts on popular sns such as Twitter and instagram.

and will it be done by police officers or police employees, or will an outside firm be hired to do it and pour money into it?

Just creating more visual pollution in the form of posters promoting something, etc. More rubbish, more paper rubbish.

On the other hand, I wonder if Japan has an official mascot and if all mascots in Japan have a main mascot. And whether the main mascot of all mascots has or will have a BOSS mascot

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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